After teasing a potential political campaign for nearly a year, actor Matthew McConnaughey has announced he will not be running to become the next governor of Texas.
In a video posted to his Instagram on Sunday, McConnaughey said that jumping into politics is a “path that I’m choosing not to take at this moment,” while imparting a message about the importance of service.
“As a simple kid born in the little town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me that I would one day be considered for political leadership,” McConaughey said. “It’s a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It is also a path that I’m choosing not to take at this moment.”
The Academy Award winner added that he will instead be using his “bounty” to help various enterprises that are helping people succeed in life.
“I’m going to continue to work and invest the bounty I have by supporting entrepreneurs, businesses and foundations that I’ve believe are leaders, establishments that I believe are creating pathways for people to succeed in life, organizations that have a mission to serve and build trust while also generating prosperity,” he said.
Much of McConaughey’s message focused on the lofty principle of service and leadership rather than actual politics, stressing the importance of Americans coming together under common values.
“Our politics needs new purpose,” McConaughey said. “We have divides that need healing. We need more trust in our lives. We got to start shining a light on our shared values, the ones that cross party lines, the ones that build bridges instead of burn them.”
McConaughey’s announcement not to run comes after a Dallas Morning News poll showed voters preferring him over current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) by eight points and Democrat candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke by 22 points.
“Likewise, a July survey by the University of Texas, Tyler, suggested 44 percent of Texans would vote for McConaughey in a hypothetical election versus just 35 percent for Abbott, with 54 percent believing the state was ‘on the wrong track,'” per the The Hollywood Reporter (THR).
However, those polls were conducted prior to McConaughey declaring his political party or his political positions on hot-button issues. As none other than Howard Stern noted earlier this year, the public’s perception of McConaughey would change dramatically the moment he revealed his political platform and beliefs, both of which he had been relatively vague about. “Once you run for office, you actually have to give an opinion,” Stern said.
The few political positions that McConaughey did state were center-right at best or left-of-center at worst, supporting mask mandates to combat the coronavirus pandemic and denouncing Texas’ recent anti-abortion law that would effectively ban the practice after six weeks.
“It feels a little juvenile in its implementation to me,” he said. “And also: six weeks. Six weeks? If you’re saying that your discussion of abortion is even on the table to consider, six weeks does not really make that an honest consideration.”
However, McConaughey did gain some points with conservatives earlier this month when he announced his opposition to vaccine mandates for children.
“I couldn’t mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids. I still want to find out more information,” McConaughey told Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook summit when asked about the mandates.
McConaughey added that both he and his wife were vaccinated without being mandated to do so.
“I’m vaccinated. My wife’s vaccinated. I didn’t do it because someone told me I had to — [I] chose to do it,” he said. “Do I think that there’s any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell no. We all got to get off that narrative. There’s not a conspiracy theory on the vaccines.”